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Comment My 45 cents.... (Score 5, Informative) 464

You can actually virtualize a whole lot of things. The real key is to put a lot of money into the virtualization hosts. CPUs/cores, ram, a really good storage system.

For the small budget, you can get by on a lot less.

I have virtualized several entire development stacks (app servers, DB servers, storage servers, reporting servers). {But you trade a bit of performance for a reduced physical server count (10 or 15 to 1? A pretty good tradeoff if done right)}
You CAN virtualize SQL servers. Most business DB servers at the small shop end are fairly light load (like finance systems) and virtualize well. {But if performance makes you money (ie: you have a SAAS product - then stay physical }
You CAN virtualize an entire Cognos stack (it is made up of many servers depending on how complex your environment is). {However, IBM is correct that in a heavy BI workload environment deserves physical servers. I run over 18,000 reports a day on my produciton stack. Not going to virtualize that any time soon.}
You CAN virtualize entire profit generating websites. {As long as you keep an eye on host CPU and perceived performance at the end user level}
You can virtualize a lot of this in relatively small environments.

But.. Everyone here who has said it is correct: DISK IO is a major contention point. If you stuff all of your virtual machines inside one single giant data store (VMWare term for a single large disk partition) and expect super fast performance 100% of the time, then you will be greatly disappointed. One of my own stacks would grind to very intollerable performance levels whenever someone restored a database to the virtualized DB server. We moved that DB server virtual machine's disk load onto dedicated drives while leaving the machine itself virtiaulize, and all those problems went away.

Do not virtualize anything thar requires multiple CPUs (cores) to operate efficently. SQL Server is an example fo something that works better with multiple CPUs at its beck and call. In virtualization though, getting all the CPU requests to line up into one availabe window bogs the whole virtual machine down (jsut the VM, not the host). If your workload can't survive on a single virtual CPU, or two at most (single core each), then you are best to keep it on a physical server.

Time sensative systems and high compute workload processes are also ideally to be left out of virtualization. Except.. If you can put a beefy enough box under them, then you might get away with it and not notice a performance impact.

The biggest mistake made when going into virtualization (besides not planning for your DISK IO needs) seems to be over provisioning too many virtual machines on a host. This is a dark trap if you are lucky to have the money to build out a high availability virtualization cluster. You spread you load across your nodes in the cluster. Then one day one goes off line and that workload moves to another node. If you only have two nodes, and one is already over subscribed, suddenly the surviving node is way over its head and everything suffers until you get in and start throttling non esscential workloads down.

So, what do you not virtualize? Anything where performance is critical to its acceptance and succcess. Anything that a performance drop can cost you money or customers. (Remember that internal users are also customers).

Plan ahead ALOT. If you feel like your not going in the right direction, pay for a consultant to come in and help design the solution Even if it is only for a few hours. (No. I am not a consultant. Not for hire.)

Comment Another Option / Definition issues (Score 3, Interesting) 411

A problem I have here is the definition of 'long term'. To each of us it means something different.

In my job I have to archive 1.6 terabytes of data per day, and keep it around for 45 days (which, BTW, is not my definition of LONG TERM). For this task I utilize Data Domain storage, which utilizes data deduplication techniques for massive compression.

What you find is that at the block level your data may in fact be incredibly deduplicatable. In my case it very much the situation. I am currently storing 86 terabytes of rolling archives within 2.5 terabytes of physical disk space.

The problem with any technology you use for 'long term' storage is the ability to read those archives later. Assuming the media doesn't self degrade inside of the time frame you call 'long term', you must have the tools to read that media again. If you use BluRay, then you must store a compatible drive with it. (Nothing says Sony will not change the standard in two years and make all current drives obsolete, so no one makes them any more). Tape is worse, in that in two major model revisions, drives wont be able to read your media because its density is to low for the new drive head technology. Hardware based disk raid has the issue that the controller the raid was built with needs to stay with that raid. Another controller from the same manufacture, with the same model number, but a different firmware revision may not be able to figure out the raid, and declare the drives empty. Software raid is a little easier to deal with as long as you keep a copy of the OS you used to create it with in the same box. But then, during your defined 'long term' period, will you still have access to a system you can even plug these drives into, or run the OS on?

What you end up dealing with in reality is that as an archivist, you either ignore these facts, or you invest in a constant media / technology refresh and spend large amounts of time keeping your archives on the latest storage available.

Of course, all this falls apart if your definition of 'long term' isn't as long as some will project. In my case, my archives roll over every 45 days. I could easily keep that data alive for years on a live piece of hardware with a service contract. If I do not trust that hardware enough, I can buy two and replicate between them. (which, actually I am, for disaster recovery purposes)

With deduplication my (acknowledged) high initial investment quickly outweighs the cost of single purpose drives holding one copy, and wasting unused space. My purchase cost was less then $60k, but if I had to store all of that data in its raw form, my costs would be in the millions. However, if the data is not deduplicatable, then of course it is a moot point.

Each answer has it flaws. You decide which risks are acceptable, plan your best to deal with obsolesce, and define your definition of 'long term'. You also have to be ready to change your solution, when the one you choose today, fails to be the right solution for your needs in 5 years.

Comment Profit Margins - not so much (Score 2, Interesting) 553

Imagine how this will work.

Overweight people will be banned from a game if they don't 'get fit'. Those who really want to play will then 'get to it' and get in shape.

Of course with all that exercise and new activity they are participating in will slowly bring them to realize there is something else to life then online avatar based games (with very shallow user access requirements). Slowly they will turn away from such games and begin doing things that are more active and fit in with their new health conscious life style.

Profits in gaming start to fall off because they banned all the people who pay to play and be someone else. When they got to the point they would qualify to play the game, they no longer had the mindset to want to play the game.

And there go my Microsoft stocks.

Comment Really big PDA! (Score 1) 166

Compared to some of the PDAs I have owned over the years, this is pretty darn competitive.

My Zaurus (5500) runs linux, and has a tiny but workable keyboard, but battery life sucks at just over an hour.

My Sony Clie had better battery life, and a funky keyboard, but was PALM OS, and had SONY own design for connectors.

My Windows CE PDA taught me that 'just cause it uses the word "Windows" does not mean it works that same or runs anything you have'.

So this has a good keyboard (not just for thumbs!), runs a real version of Windows. Has a touch screen. Even has connectors you can plug things into you might actually want to anyway. Has 4 hours battery life (umm.. maybe), and can work with your TV.

This is like the PDA dream come true.

Heck, they haven't been 'pocket sized' for quite some time. So this ones a little bigger. So?

Hmmm.. If you can convince your library to setup some wireless HDMI TVs, then all they need is the WIFI network (they probably already setup) and you can bring your own computer!

Who needs laptops now? :-)

Also Hmmm... Who will write the first USB slave app that turns this into a real keyboard (HID device) for another computer and lets you do two things at once like a KVM does?

Comment Re:Braid & quick-save/quick-load (Score 2, Informative) 106

Yes: ChronoTron.

I loved this game. They even accounted for Paradoxes. But, the concept does get a bit old when you beat you head on a puzzle trying to plan "x" far ahead in order to complete the puzzle. (coolest effect - using "pause time" in one loop, then seeing it get used in a later loop)

So, yeah. Not so new.

And so now, two games that might make me want to buy a PS3. Hmmm.. Still not worth it.

But then, I bought a Xbox 360 for one game: Fable 2. So, what do I know about worthwhile purchases.?

Comment my license prevents what? (Score 1) 327

You know, my drivers license doesn't protect me from the so called 'auto' criminals. It doesn't certify that I will not purchase products that are unsafe or illegal. Nor does it guarantee I will not be taken advantage of by so called 'auto' security experts, 'auto' technicians, or other unscrupulous parties.

Will an operators license for my computer insure I won't crash into someone? Or that I at least know how to not crash into someone on the information super highway?

Comment Yes, Indeed. (Score 3, Interesting) 188

Try Sato America.

They are industrial oriented. You can get all sorts of solutions, of which the most universal would be serial based. You can connect those up to almost anything with a serial port, fill it up with large rolls of labels and drive it all in your own code if you want to.

Yes, I know, their own software is Windows based. Don't let that be the stumbling block.

Two jobs ago I worked at a luxury goods manufacturer and we printed items tags on a SATO serial printer off of our main frame. Its just a matter of sending the right control codes over the serial port.

Comment Good Luck With That (Score 0) 333

Do you remember the last time they tried to introduce a new Windows platform on a non-Intel based architecture?

Yes, it was Windows CE.

The biggest stumbling block was that MS made it look to much like Windows and gave it a confusing name. Users who bought in wondered why none of their favorite apps would work.

If MS went with an ARM architecture, the biggest issue would be everything else. All your apps would have to be specifically compiled to run on one architecture or the other. (Didn't Apple have this problem, and come up with FAT Bits and then carbon?) How many sales would be lost because WoW or game of the day doesn't run on that yet?

Or ARM would have to implement an X86 compatibility layer.

Hmmm. Windows 8 Ultimate Extreme Business Gamer ARM Edition Pro. Sounds like a winning SKU to me.

But will in run on a Mac or in VMWare?

Comment Re:Gigabyte M912 (Score 1) 205

I have one of these. You have to import it. (try Dynamism).

Many makers not normally seen in the United States (outside of the specialist crowd) have already done this. The small format convertible tablet PC has been around for a while.

Gigabyte did a pretty good job and the hinge point (much like on my Toshiba R15) is the biggest concern. So far it is rock solid and if you ever get to see a tear down screen shot, you would see a fairly solid design.

The price point sucked. You were trading money for the touch screen and pivot. Otherwise, for the most part is very much like a 9 inch EEE.

The other down side is a poor power management design. This thing eats its battery pretty quickly, even when turned off. (Don't get me started).

I bought mine just after ASUS showed off both the 9inch tablet PC and 10inch units at the comdex show. I knew they wouldn't be shipping for a long time and had no idea if the price would be as bad.

Tablets are a special market space - they definitely are not for heavy duty gamers, and are bigger and heavier then kindles, so they make poor basic duty ebook readers. But they are head and shoulders over Kindle due to their high res color displays (at the price of power) and their excellent general purpose abilities. (Go ahead, try and run Windows and Linux and OSX on a kindle).

Every time I see the price of a kindle or other ebook reader, I look at my $1500 Toshiba, or my $700 M912 and realize I have the better of the deal. This unit from ASUS could very easily define a whole new market space the same way the original EEE did.

Comment As We Know It (Score 1, Interesting) 42

Water as we know it contains Oxygen. Buy one, get the other for no extra charge.

Life as we know it is the rub here. Are we looking for planets that will potentially have life forms that are some how similar to those we know of on our own world?

Or are we really looking for a place to colonize one day?

If it is the later, then looking for water is logical.

If it is not, then really, open your mind and realize that 'life as we know it' is a very short sighted perspective. Out there in the universe is a silicon based civilization looking for worlds bathed in methane simply because it is quite obvious to anyone intelligent that this is the only type of work the 'life as they know it' could possible have a chance of being created.

Oh, and I would suggest opening your mind to broader horizons because some of those oxygen breathing, water oriented life forms I know can be real bastards.

Comment Re:my laundry list (Score 1) 384

No you don't. Want this, I mean.
Well, maybe you do. You just don't know you don't yet.

HMD's are a cool concept. Your cell phone (smart phone preferably) is a far better instrument then an HMD at this juncture in time. However if you want to play in that arena, then go ahead. There are plenty of solutions for doing so out there right now if you have the money.

But in reality you begin to realize what you are doing is skimming the surface of an entirely different realm called 'pervasive computing'. That is where the really cool stuff is at. That is what drives your HMD (or other output or interactive systems) then puts the cool stuff in front of you in the ways the 'augmented reality' does.

And yet, go figure, my cell phone does all of this right now, in a high powered, long battery life (relatively speaking) platform. It can tell me where I am, it can remember things for me (but cant tell me who someone is just by a photo), and it makes for a superb remote commnications platform with direct access to the internet. These were all the "that would be so cool" ideas we all wanted to do back 9 years ago when I bought my first HMD and started dabbling in wearable computing. All the hardware, the HMD, the batteries to drive it all, the ugly cabling holding it all together, has all been surpassed by a small 2 inch by 4 inch brick with far more horse power and a cool color screen. And I can hold it in front of my face and see what is beyond it as I walk down the street (Well, I hear there is an APP for that). And it costs a hell of a lot less then a single low resolution HMD.

However, if your want to get into the research side of pervasive computing and augmented reality, then an HMD is a great starting point. Once you have it in front of your face you begin to see (or not see) what it is really good for and even ways it can be leveraged. Once you understand this box, you can step out of it and see the even larger world around you and how the HMD can be used to enhance this world. Or even further, how to enhance this world without the need for a head mounted display and the limits it brings.

I already have most of what you want in the palm of my hand, paid less then what you will for your dream and will throw it away in less then three years.

But sure, go get your HMD and start working on the dream. You could get rich along the way if you can figure out how to fulfill your list and at the same time figure out how to market it. Before there is an App for that of course.

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